Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

What was the worst you were ever ripped off by an individual selling something?

Asked by Dutchess_III (26608 points ) February 22nd, 2012

My poor daughter. She enrolled in college in Jan. She really needed a computer, but she wasn’t going to get any of her student aid until this month and she’s just been running on broke until last Friday.
Well, she was dating a guy, we’ll call him Joe, up until recently, and Joe’s father said they had a brand new computer that they bought last year. Dad said that Joe’s brother had downloaded a bunch of porn in the first two days that really messed the computer up, so they stuck it in a closet and that’s where it’s been since. He told my daughter that she could get it “cleaned out” and it would run like new and he was only asking $250.
Last Friday she got her aid and she excitedly picked up her new computer and ran it to a geek she knew that does computer work.
Well, one thing led to another and so far she has $400 sunk into it, including the purchase price.
When things started adding up she asked Joe’s dad about it and he backpedaled and specified that he’d bought it “new” from someone else, so it was actually used when he bought it. She asked for her money back. He said “No.”

As a kid you expect to be able to trust adults, someone who is your father’s age… especially one who is kinda, sorta family.

It just breaks my heart. She feels like such a fool, but I told her it’s just a learning experience and it’ll come out alright (I hope.) She just needs to work with businesses from now on.

I know I’ve been suckered in the past, but nothing comes to mind right now. Do you have any stories where you trusted someone and they took advantage of you?

(PS. As of right now the computer is cleaned out, but it is very, very slow, like 15 minutes to load a page. She’s going to drop $80 on more mem so..hopefully everything WILL be alright after that…)

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10 Answers

TexasDude's avatar

I spent $400 on what I thought was a British Rifle No. 5 Mark I Jungle Carbine which is a relatively rare rifle that I had always wanted to add to my collection. I went that weekend to go fire it, but it would not chamber the .303 British round that it is supposed to fire. I took it home, took it apart and inspected it, and noticed that most of the parts looked to be made from hand-filed pot metal and the wood was really rough on the inside, which clued me in that the rifle is actually a rather poorly-made Khyber Pass copy. This means that even if I figured out what round (if any) it fired, it probably wouldn’t be safe to shoot, which more or less means it’s just an expensive paperweight. I’ve tried to sell it a few times, but I don’t want to lie to people, so I always told them that it is a copy that is probably unsafe to fire, and the most I’ve been offered is $20. Since then, it’s grown on me as a conversation piece and something neat to stick over the fireplace, but I’m still pissed that the dealer sold it to me probably knowing that it was not an original British rifle (I’ve bought rifles from him before without any problems). Needless to say, he lost a customer over that.

skfinkel's avatar

Lawyers. A huge rip off and feeling of being taken advantage of—very big time.

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m sorry what happened to your daughter. I know you are correct that it is a life lesson, but it still hurts to see your children get that kind of wisdom. I’ve been taken a few times in my life. I suppose my worst was the second car I bought. My family always bought cars from one particular Chevrolet, GM, Cadillac dealer. He was a personal friend of my father.

I had found a Pontiac J-2000 that I was deadset to buy from another dealer in town. My dad asked me not to do it, but I had to have that cool moon roof. That car was a lemon from the get go. The engine locked-up in the first 30 days from no oil. It was a brand new car. Everyone tried to help me – except my dad who was of the attittude, “I told you so.”

I was told that I had bought an extended warranty and that is why my payments were a little higher than I thought at when I signed the paperwork. I didn’t have an extended warranty, I had a new car with a blown engine and a salesman who didn’t work there any longer. It was going to cost me $2,000 for a new engine. My dad let me use my grandfather’s old car for work.

I drove my grandfather’s car to the dealership and gave it one last chance to try to get them to help me. There was no way I’d run the oil out of a brand new car in 30 days. Anyway, to make a longer story short, I stood on the lot and walked up to potential clients what had happened to me. Finally, the owner asked me if my grandfather was so-and-so and I said yes. He said he’d known my grandfather forever and because of that, he’d put a new engine in the car for $500.

I had to do it because I was still paying payments on a car sitting in their garage. The car got fixed, but it was a lemon before lemon laws. My dad said it was an expensive lesson. Trust me, it was one I’ve never forgotten. Stupid Pontiac J-2000.

linguaphile's avatar

Ouch. Ouch. and Ouch. :( I’m already afraid of this thread, but I’ll add mine…

A friend told us he was selling his house and wanted 95K for the 4 bedroom house—I thought we had hit gold—we verbally agreed to buy the house without really being aware of what went into house buying. I had the inspection done and the inspector said there were some concerns with Radon levels being more than 10 times over the max in the basement. There were also some things that needed to be fixed in the basement but I thought it wouldn’t be a problem. My stepdad said to back out right then, but I went to talk to the friend, explained the radon thing and he agreed to pay for a radon filter. We went and signed for the house, bought it and had a 2K radon filter installed.

The “friend” refused to pay for the filter. I eventually found out that the basement floor had been tarred for some reason so it couldn’t be tiled only carpeted, but there was a significant flooding issue from two basement windows. Also the house was not up to code and soon after, baseboards started falling off (they had been glued on with Elmers) and we realized his wife had put actual sand and dirt into the living room paint to “texturize” it. She also painted the kitchen and bathroom cabinets without a primer on top of oil based shellac and within 5 months, paint started peeling and flaking off in clumps.

I had to put in almost 20K to fix all the problems and was ready to sell the house, but the bubble burst, market shifted. :(

Coloma's avatar

@linguaphile What a nightmare! The money pit in all it’s glory.

That’s too bad @Dutchess_III I hate people of sleazy integrity…bah!
I guess I’m lucky, no really shocking ripoffs, minor annoyances and yes @skfinkel I agree. Lawyers suck! Probably that would be my biggest rip off, the attorney that took my retainer, fucked around for a year during my divorce and then had a heart attack and I had to start all over with a new guy that took another year. Bah!

creative1's avatar

A friend wanted to buy a puppy and so she did it online and sent the money to them via western union, needless to say she never got the dog and she was out $600 to boot.

Sad to say people are out there to scam others and we all have to watchout for the deal that looks too good to be true.

Just something she is going to have to chaulk up to a hard lesson learned.

keobooks's avatar

My exhaust system went out right after I moved across the country. I went to a mechanic that several local guys at work suggested. I figured the local guys would know who was best. This guy seemed really nice and said I needed a new catalytic converter that would run me $950.

When I go pick the car up, I see something under the car. It’s a coat hanger. It looked like they used the hanger to tie my exhaust pipe to the frame. I said something to the tune of WTF?

The guy said, “How did that thing get all tangled up there? I must have driven over it!” And he pulled the hanger off. I should have trusted my gut, but I didn’t want to seem paranoid because this guy was so well loved by a few of my coworkers.

My car went less than a mile down the road and then there was a huge clunk and the entire exhaust system fell off. It also was so overheated that the engine almost seized. I called them up to tell them that their repairs didn’t take and I needed a tow back to their shop. They said it would cost me 100$ to tow it back to the shop.

I said most mechanics would tow the car for FREE if something went wrong with the repair job and the car didn’t even make it a mile away from the store. Old guy said things were a little different out in the country and if I was really nice to him, he MIGHT take the 100$ off of my bill when he fixed the totally different problem he was sure my exhaust system suddenly developed.

I called a different mechanic at random—this guy towed the car for free when I explained the story. Turns out the mechanic my friends suggested is really nice.. to men. And locals. But he had a reputation for doing shoddy jobs on “city slickers” and widows and single ladies were even worse. Most of the people who went to him didn’t know. Their dads and moms grew up with this guy so he was sweet as could be to all of them.

The other guy had to charge me for parts but he gave me a hefty break on labor because he felt sorry for me. It turns out that I was charged for a catalytic converter, but my 15 year old car still had the original one from the factory on it. All of the exhaust piping was factory original. Basically, I paid 950 for that damned coat hanger tied to the frame.

I did report him to the BBB, but for various reasons, I didn’t want to get into it with him and get my money back. It was a small town and I didn’t want to tick off a bunch of coworkers I had to be with all day because I sued their good old boy.

linguaphile's avatar

@keobooks Arrugh. That would’ve really gotten to me too!

@Dutchess_III I expect now that people who work with houses, cars and certain products will have a propensity to be shady, but your daughter’s situation is more disheartening—it’s on a personal level and that’s got to shake her faith in people. Tell her that I’m sure all of us on this thread can tell a story of someone who went way beyond the call of duty to save our buns and money as well.

My story of being saved— my car ran into a ditch in a sudden snowstorm in Canada—there was no way I was getting out of the ditch and my engine compartment was fully packed with snow. A tow truck came driving by, pulled me out, took me to his shop, warmed up the engine and melted the snow, then sent me on my way, refusing one cent from me. For every shafter, there’s a saver. :D :D

Pandora's avatar

$900 dollars for a new a/c for my car because they said it was what was causing my car to break down. This was when we were really tight with money and our kids where small and my husband was overseas. A few days later I broke down again and was too far to take it back to the same mechanic. Luckily I broke down in front of a dealership that makes my car. I didn’t take my car there because I took a friends recommendation of the other place. I told the dealership that I was pretty broke but I would like to work out some sort of payment. The guy looked at my car and said it was a $40 problem. He said I probably never needed the a/c because it wouldn’t cause the problems I described. My car was fixed in one day. He said they should’ve noticed the real problem when they replaced my a/c. He also gave me the bad news that my car shows signs of having been in a big accident and that the frame was bent an a heart beat away from falling apart. He said the dealship that sold it to me frauded me. He said they would throw a car that badly damaged in a scrap yard. So he said be careful not to hit anyone. When my husband got back I had him look and the guy was telling me the truth. Unfortunately the dealership had gone out of business the year before.
So actually, I got ripped off more than just the 900.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@linguaphile Exactly—it was on a personal level. It was an adult taking full advantage of a “kid.” You know what, though? That’s an excellent spin to put on it…have her start telling me of all the times a stranger came along and “rescued” her for nothing. That is great. Thank you! :)

@all….sometimes people just SUCK.

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